There is no question about it: referee Jorge Gonzalez did not have a good day at PPL Park Saturday outside Philadephia. And because of it, Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth is about to have a bad Monday. The “bad” will arrive in the form of a fine.
Actually, Hackworth says he’s OK with a fine. He knows that it’s coming. But the Union boss felt strongly that he needed to say something about Gonzalez’s performance in the Union’s 2-2 draw with Seattle on Saturday in Chester, Penn.
Hackworth was upset about number of things, like Sheanon Williams’ red card. But his biggest complaint – one that is 100 percent justified – is with Gonzalez missing a clear handball on Sounders left back Leo Gonzalez in stoppage time.
It happened just in front of Seattle goal on a shot by Union striker Conor Casey. Leo Gonzalez clearly has his hand up and knocks down Casey’s shot with it. That would have given the Union a great chance to turn one point into three. Here’s what Hackworth said:
I’ll raise my hand and I’ll take the fine but it has to be said. We cannot be in this league, have this level of play and have officiating be this bad. As bad as that.
“Having watched some replays from the last 10 minutes, it absolutely blew my mind. Full credit to Seattle, they are a very good team but that should not have ended in a draw. There’s a clear penalty at the end of the game and how it’s not called is beyond me. There were so many parts to that game that were mismanaged by the officials. I don’t even know what to say.
“It’s not just one play, forget that we should have a penalty kick on the clearest handball you can see on video. It was bizarre and it can’t happen in this league. I’m going to make a bold statement and that should not be allowed. That guy has come here before and done the exact same thing.”
Our pals over at Brotherly Game grabbed a still photo of the image off the screen on Gonzalez’s handball, along with some choice words about it. Or, here’s the play in question in moving pictures:
- Chelsea are without N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses (both hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf) is still absent.
- Watford remain without Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl (both thigh), plus long-term absentees Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee).
- Watford have not won against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 1986, but the Hornets have won 10 points of a possible 12 on the road.
- Chelsea have lost three of their first eight matches this season. No team has ever lost this many of their opening eight matches and still won the Premier League title.
Watford heads south for another London derby with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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The Hornets have had an amazing start to the season and currently occupy fourth place on 15 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea, which has lost two-straight Premier League games. The Blues have struggled without N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata and there have been reports of grumbles from the squad about dissatisfaction with Antonio Conte‘s training methods, but the Chelsea coach has brushed those rumors off.
Meanwhile Watford is coming off a confidence-boosting win last weekend against fellow Londoners Arsenal, and the club is looking to take down another big club for a second-straight week.
What they’re saying
Watford manager Marco Silva on his team’s start: “I want everybody to be really calm. We did really in the first eight matches but it’s too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being under pressure: “‘Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”
Chelsea has its back against the wall but the team’s overall quality should be enough to see them through with all three points against Watford. The Hornets luck runs out in Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hold on for a late win. Chelsea 2-1 Watford
Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.
UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.
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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.
Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.
That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.
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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”
The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.
However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.
Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.
Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.
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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.
The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.